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If you would like to know more about our Sustainable design services contact Louisa Bowles

Sustainability vision and brief setting

Our sustainability briefs are creative and integrate fully with architectural ones, aligning with the project aspirations, the architectural response, programme and budget. Along with the more usual qualitative measures and third-party assessments like BREEAM and WELL, we can create bespoke and measurable KPIs and targets where required. These can be tracked through design, construction, and occupation, using robust monitoring techniques with innovative delivery strategies.

Newcastle University Urban Sciences Building

The Urban Sciences Building is a real ‘living’ laboratory – a place where academic research is used to generate and test real-life solutions that benefit people, businesses, and the city. The university’s aspirational post occupation goals, to deliver the highest standards of sustainability throughout the building’s operational lifetime, were such that they couldn’t be sufficiently recognised with a BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ rating. 

So, together with engineers Buro Happold, we developed a bespoke sustainability framework for the building, designed specifically to drive sustainability beyond BREEAM with an auditable approach to developing targets for design, construction, and occupation, proposing vigorous reporting techniques and innovative delivery strategies to ensure targets were met. 

The building’s sustainable design features include: a smart tech demand and response energy system with on-site storage; thousands of sensors providing real-time, online environmental data for each space; a bio-dome on the building roof that uses waste heat, water and carbon dioxide produced by the labs below to grow food for the café, and experimental areas of DC electrical power supply for workspace. The team undertook a comprehensive, post-occupancy evaluation to improve the building’s performance and the University are now developing the BIM information into a ‘digital twin’ to progress further internal research.